Center to promote global stability through policy

BU researchers work to advance equitable, sustainable development around the world

BU’s Global Development Policy Center (GDPC), through its Global China Initiative, studies how China’s overseas investments and engagement with international institutions can foster a stable, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable world economy.

So when President Xi Jinping announced at the United Nations in 2021 that China would stop building overseas coal-fired power plants and help developing nations install low-carbon energy sources, the national and international media contacted the GDPC for perspective.

Since 2017, the GDPC has been working toward an egalitarian model of global development, through research, scholarship, and political engagement. The center analyzes international finance, human capital, data, and land use around the world, ignoring preconceptions to offer clear-eyed, evidence-based policy recommendations.

For example, while China was the largest public financier of coal-fired energy projects abroad and its recent stop building pledge is good news, power plant construction continues in developing countries, says GDPC Director Kevin Gallagher. In fact, more than 85% of total funding (public and private) for overseas coal plants actually originates from outside of China, according to a study by Gallagher and Xinyue Ma, a researcher at the GDPC. “We will not meet our global climate and development goals if the private sector continues to finance overseas coal,” Gallagher said in an interview with Science magazine.

But change starts with knowledge, and Gallagher and his researchers are dedicated to seeing the world as it is and developing suggestions to improve it.